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Few days to the start of the new Premier league season, the atmosphere at the Emirates is a dull and gloomy. No thanks to the absence of quality arrivals. Arsenal are still yet to spend a dime in this window despite the claim of unprecedented cash and links to several players. It will be a waste of invaluable time to start
mentioning the players here considering the fact that some have been snapped up by other clubs while interests have cooled in others. The pursuit of Suarez is in no man's land. What then is our fate in the new season?
I am particularly perplexed and disappointed at us missing out of Gustavo ( or are the reports false?). It's not every time that a player of immense quality like the Brazilian becomes available. He wanted to leave not because of dearth of quality on his part but surplus quality in Bayern and his desire to play regular football. Reports are quite divergent. Some said Arsenal had a bid accepted, others said Arsenal were reluctant to pay what Bayern were demanding (22million Euros). The crux of the matter is that he has opted for Bundesliga stay with Wolfsburg. His choice of destination really chagrined me. Wolfsburg aren't in the Champions League and of all the teams jostling for his signature, only Wolfsburg aren't in the elite European competition. What then could have been the rationale behind the switch?
The fact that he is staying back in the Bundesliga could mean he doesn't want a change of league that could impact negatively on his form and inadvertently, put his World Cup chances with Brazil in jeopardy. It could also mean only Wolfsburg showed genuine serious interest. What then did Arsenal show? Maybe Wenger just expressed an interest and didn't back it up with a bid.
Now that Gustavo is gone, our options in the defensive midfield area is getting limited. Getting Felliani is more difficult since the clause in his contract that makes him available for 22 million Pounds has expired according to reports. The options left are snapping up prodigal Flamini on a free transfer or buying an unknown talent from somewhere. Whichever it is, Arsenal fans aren't likely going to be excited. Kondogbia could be a good option but Sevilla seems very reluctant to sell their next big name after big money sales of stars; Navas and Negredo. It will take 'crazy' money to tempt them into a sale, is Wenger ready to bid that?
On to the Suarez debacle. Yesterday, reports went viral that the wantaway Uruguayan had made a sensational U-turn and decided to stay put at Liverpool. In my piece of the day, I doubted the authenticity of the story though many media outlets caught the bug but BBC and Skysports managed to keep their sanity. Yesterday also, Suarez issued a rebuttal denying the story.
"I didn't say it."
"Maybe someone else did, [but] the main thing is that I am here now with the national team,"
(Suarez to Kyodo News)
The saga is so messy and confusing at the moment. Two conflicting stories credited to one man. Wonder who is telling the truth and who isn't? If Suarez is telling the truth then Liverpool could be up to something. If Arsenal are really interested in rescuing him from Anfield servitude, this is the time to crank up the pressure with another improved bid. With the transfer window drawing to a close, so will Suarez's desperation to leave be increasing. We sure need addition and I believe Wenger isn't blind to that fact. The team is short quality and quantity wise. Quality wise means we can't win the league and quantity wise means we might not be able to last the whole season and that could cost us our pseudo-trophy.
In other news, Arsenal have re-opened contract talks with French right-back Bacary Sagna. Talks had broken down at the beginning of August but according to Goal, the Gunners are set to give one last push to convincing the Frenchman to extend his stay at the Emirates. Wonder what could have birthed this? I believe it could be the huge improvement in his form during the pre-season and Jenkinson's erratic form. Should Sagna leave now, Jenkinson cannot be trusted to fill the void. Also the Frenchman's versatility which has seen him play the center-back role can't be ignored. With each passing day, it's looking unlikely that Wenger will sign a new center-back. Hence, Sagna now is a beautiful bride.
Finally, Wilshere is in the news and it's for something flattering. Three Lions and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has tipped Wilshere to succeed him as captain of the English team.
"I've got no doubt that Wilshere can captain England,
"His quality, his example in training every day, he seems a level-headed kid, he wants to learn, he loves England, he’s going to be around the top for a long, long time. He ticks a lot of boxes when it comes down to other players following his lead.
"Obviously I’m really paranoid about putting too much pressure on any player, especially Jack, but he certainly has the quality to do that."
"I counted once and I've missed 20-odd caps [through injury] so there is nothing for him to worry out," he continued.
"There is a lot of time, it’s a long career. I’m sure once he gets to my age he will probably be sitting in my position with the armband on talking about another 100-cap player he’s that good".
"When I first came up against him at Anfield, you could see his quality straight away. From that moment really, I'm not thinking about Arsenal, I'm thinking of England and getting back out there with him and I’m excited he’s back".
(Gerrard on Wilshere)
In that piece, Gerrard said a lot of obvious things but tipping Wilshere to succeed him is just a step too far. Wilshere is undoutedly talented and should he stay off injury, he will be a super-regular for England but even at that, there are still players ahead of him in age and caps that will also be interested in the captaincy.
Players like Rooney, Baines, Johnson, He could end up as captain but I don't see it happening anytime soon. Instead of him facing the pressure of leading England (who are overrated in my own opinion), I would rather see him leading Arsenal. He is my candidate to succeed Vermaelen.
I am taking my fingers off the keyboard now. Really distraught at the loss of Gustavo. See you in the comments.